Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Bad Media Influences Abound; Limit a Child's Exposure to Them

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Bad Media Influences Abound; Limit a Child's Exposure to Them

Article excerpt

Cyberbullying, cybercrime, Internet safety, sexting, violent television shows and video games are just a few of the digital challenges facing today's families. Technology and media are commonplace in most homes, and they can make it tough to protect kids from harmful influences. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under age 2 have no screen time and those 2 or older have no more than one to two hours per day. These recommendations are based on research showing a direct correlation between kids' media viewing time and the problems of obesity, aggressive behavior and alcohol and tobacco use.

According to the AAP, U.S. children watch an average of four hours of television per day. This means they are viewing 5,000 to 8,000 ads per year, and most are for food products typically high in fat, sugar and sodium and low in nutrition. According to www.childhoodobesitystatistics.net, the number of overweight and obese children has more than tripled in the past 30 years.

Tobacco manufacturers spend $30 million a day on advertising their products. Even with strong restrictions and parenting practices, these ads can influence young people to start to smoke.

Our children also are exposed to increasing amounts of media violence through video games, television, movies and music.

This, in turn, can lead to aggressive behavior, nightmares, a fear of being harmed and desensitization to violence.

AAP strongly suggests that parents understand the impact of media on children's health and take responsibility for choosing what media their family consumes.

"The biggest threat is parents that are not involved in their children's use of technology," says Judi Warren, president of Web Wise Kids. Through the group's website, www.webwisekids.org, parents can find resources to equip young people to safely use and enjoy technology. …

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